HIVES / URTICARIA

Hives, also known as urticaria, are itchy, raised welts that are found on the skin. They are usually red, pink, or flesh-colored, and sometimes they sting or hurt. In most cases, hives are caused by an allergic reaction to a medication or food or a reaction to an irritant in the environment.

In many cases, hives are an acute (temporary) problem that may be alleviated with allergy medications. Most rashes go away on their own. However, chronic (ongoing) cases, as well as hives accompanied by a severe allergic reaction, are larger medical concerns.

When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you have severe hives or hives that continue to appear for several days.

What triggers urticaria?

  • Some food (especially peanuts, eggs, nuts and shellfish)
  • Medications, such as antibiotics (especially penicillin and sulfa), aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Insect stings or bites
  • Physical stimuli, such as pressure, cold, heat, exercise or sun exposure
  • Latex
  • Blood transfusions
  • Bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections and strep throat
  • Viral infections, including the common cold, infectious mononucleosis and hepatitis
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Some plants

Frequently Asked Questions

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